PROJECT PROPOSAL: PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND FIGHT AGAINST COUNTERFEITING IN THE T/C SECTOR

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1 PROJECT PROPOSAL: PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND FIGHT AGAINST COUNTERFEITING IN THE T/C SECTOR Protecting intellectual property and dealing with counterfeiting are vital to the textiles and clothing sector. In this sector, in fact, design, innovation, image, and the defence of intellectual property are particularly important distinguishing features for these labour-intensive industries in competing with international rivals. This is why effective protection for designs and models is so vital. The textiles and clothing sector has to cope with its own specific difficulties: - alongside counterfeiting of brands and trade marks, there is also counterfeiting of designs and models; - foreign competition is increasing, especially from countries where labour costs are low; - the range of products, together with the need to bring out new collections more frequently (with four mini-collections per season, on average). The factors listed above are hindering the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in this sector. They are also reasons which fully justify the campaigns to inform firms, consumers and the authorities and to make them aware of the economic risks inherent in counterfeiting and pirating, as well as the ways which are available to combat them. Counterfeiting is a practice of unfair competition which harms not only businesses but also the health of consumers, who are increasingly exposed to serious risk and fraud. One of the primary aims of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership is to remove distortion of competition and barriers to the freedom of movement, while at the same time creating an environment conducive to innovation and investment. In this context, the protection of intellectual property is vital for the prosperity of the Euro-Mediterranean textiles and clothing market. It makes it possible to encourage innovation and creativeness, and at the same time provides a boost to the job market and improves competitiveness. Unfortunately, the disparities among the Member States legal and regulatory systems with regard to the means of enforcing intellectual property rights are prejudicial to the proper functioning of the internal market and make it impossible to ensure that intellectual property rights enjoy an equivalent level of protection throughout the European Union. In this connection, in 2004 the European Union adopted a Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (2004/48/EC). In addition to the civil and administrative measures provided for under the Directive, there are also criminal sanctions which constitute an important means of ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights. The Commission therefore recently submitted a proposal for a Directive of the Council and of the European Parliament and a proposal for a Council Framework Decision with a view to strengthening the criminal-law framework to combat intellectual property offences. Creativeness and innovation are more than ever competitive factors for our firms. But these firms are still too fragile and are often unaware of intellectual property issues. They are increasingly affected by the rise in counterfeiting. This is no longer restricted to luxury brands but takes a variety of forms: copyright, designs, models.

2 TRAINING PROGRAMME: COUNTERFEITING IN THE DESIGN INDUSTRIES A STEPPING UP AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS Creativeness and innovation are more than ever competitive factors for our firms. But these firms are still too fragile and are often unaware of intellectual property issues. They are increasingly affected by the rise in counterfeiting. This is no longer restricted to luxury brands but takes a variety of forms: copyright, designs, models. 1) Widening the target audience: While the training action undertaken in was aimed primarily at the fashion industry, it is necessary as part of this new wide-ranging programme to open it to the whole range of undertakings which are developing strong added value, without however encroaching on the area of competence of DEFI (Comité de développement et de promotion de l'habillement) 1. The following would thus be included: - firms involved in activities related to fashion (design, luxury goods, cosmetics, architecture, music, etc.) ; - firms from any other sectors of activity: motor vehicles, electronics, computers, telephones, etc. It is interesting to compare their progress in terms of creativeness and innovation. 2) Stronger regional actions: - Actions in the regions must be extended to cover new areas prone to counterfeiting. The plan would be to set up a network of specialists on intellectual property. A network structured around experts (customs attachés, magistrates, experts from INPI - Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle) would allow those affected by counterfeiting to get accurate and prompt information. Setting up product workshops for a better understanding of all the characteristics of a counterfeited product will also be essential in this respect, as will be mention of new tracing tools such as smart chips attached to a product as a more effective deterrent. 3) Training modules Intellectual Property Rights : - Laws and regulations on patents, marks, industrial designs, etc; - Definitions of intellectual property rights, copyright, industrial property rights, discovery, patent for inventions, utility model, preferential duty, Paris Agreement, international agreements (Patent Cooperation Treaty, European Patent Convention), industrial design, etc; Industrial property rights (procedures, protection of patent for invention, protection of marks and designs/industrial designs, etc). 1 Since 2002 DEFI has been running a special training scheme to make firms aware of the issues of protecting and exploiting design with a view to helping them to be more effective in the fight against counterfeiting. There has been special emphasis on SMEs, which often have only a partial understanding of these issues. Another aim of the project is to increase synergy between fashion firms and public authorities responsible for the fight against counterfeiting. 2

3 B TAILOR-MADE PROGRAMMES FOR CERTAIN HIGH-RISK GROUPS 1) The designers/stylists/craftsmen group: - Promoting creativeness while respecting the firm s identity; - Protecting a product (drawing, model, prototype) throughout its life; - Evaluating the design and aesthetic qualities of a product, the significance of technological innovation (manufacturing process, technical innovation, etc); - Exporting creative goods in response to globalisation. Without forgetting the young designer group: relatively vulnerable and without resources for defence. Thought must be given to including them and informing them so that their designs are not stolen. 2) The distribution buyers group: - Make them aware of and understand the criminal and economic risks. Some sellers cause further confusion by invoicing counterfeit items at the same price as genuine goods with massive discounting allowed by marks during sales; consumers do not know where they are. - International sourcing; - Distributors responsibility; - Increasing role of fashion; - Unfair competition and counterfeiting. 3) The public authorities group: - Identifying product types; - Identifying essential links and relevant actors; - Action to raise awareness of the economic impact of counterfeiting. 4) The consumers group: - Protecting them and making them understand the health risks of certain counterfeit products. Action to raise awareness of the economic impact of counterfeiting and to make them realise that what they do indirectly hurts the economy of the country. 5) Customs authorities: - Provide better training so that they are more effective in detecting counterfeit products. The fact is that it is harder and harder to detect counterfeits. Products are often shipped without any markings to avoid arousing suspicion, and the labels are delivered separately and sewn on at the point of sale. The goods are no longer sold only by street hawkers but also in stores. 6) The manufacturers group: - Make them aware of and understand the criminal and economic risks. The risk for manufacturers is a medium-term risk. Indeed, since they offer no added value in design and simply imitate and reproduce goods, the risk they run apart from the criminal risk is that they will simply vanish from the market because in the end customers 3

4 will find cheaper counterfeiters. The cost of these programmes will be euros per target country. C NEW PROBLEMS OF TIME AND SPACE 1) International scale of counterfeiting: It is proposed to undertake a study of the main counterfeiting countries, for which counterfeiting is an intrinsic part of their economy, by looking at the symbolic and cultural aspects of each country and conducting an analysis of current methods and practices to combat counterfeiting. Seminars, for example, will focus on individual countries (China, Russia, Eastern Europe) and could be arranged in liaison with officials of the network of economic missions of the French Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle and customs officials in various locations (customs attaché resident, for example, in China), whose numbers were increased in ) Future scale: - Define what is at stake for designers and design by diagnosing trends in society and predicting the consequences for design and adapting the products which make up our lives; - Internet and counterfeiting. D- A GENUINE CAMPAIGN TO RAISE AWARENESS With a view to the creation of a Euromed free trade area by 2010 and the harmonisation of the various countries legislations, it is proposed to produce a special guide for those involved in the sector. The aim of the guide will be to provide information on rights of defence and the action to be taken to combat counterfeiting. It will also include a review of the legal provisions and rules in force in the EU Member States and the Mediterranean partner countries. RESULTS Publication of a practical guide in English and French (Arabic to be assessed) for dissemination among the various public and private actors in the textiles and clothing sector and the trade associations. The guide will cover the following topics: how to take defensive action against counterfeiting, especially whom to contact to ensure that intellectual property rights are enforced; what strategies SMEs should adopt and how they should behave to protect themselves and to prevent counterfeiting; protection systems currently in force in the EU Member States and Mediterranean countries and actions by the relevant authorities in the fight against counterfeiting. Annex on legislation (Community Directives, main laws and regulations in force in the various countries in question, international agreements, bilateral and multilateral agreements). 4

5 Studies of best practices in the fight against counterfeiting (introduction of a freephone number by the Italian Ministry of Production Activities, Italian customs Falstaff project 2, Franco-Italian task force to combat counterfeiting). BUDGET Approx euros: (layout + paper + printing) for 200 pages/1000 copies (500 in English and 500 in French) (translation - 27 per page/language) (research for material, editing of guide by experts) OBJECTIVES To strengthen to system for protecting intellectual property rights and especially the possibility for this instrument to provide an incentive to the growth of firms by encouraging their understanding and use of intellectual property instruments. To make not only firms but also the public aware of how important it is to respect intellectual property rights. CONCLUSION By strengthening the links between the manufacturing world on both sides of the Mediterranean and the world of design, it will be possible to lay the foundation for wide-ranging and long-lasting strategies on industrial property, thereby contributing to the economic development of our creative firms. 2 Fully Automated Logical System To Against Forgeries & Frauds. 5

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